Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2009
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2009 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Stephen R. Kandall


I support and applaud Kathleen Parker's Oct. 22 op-ed column "Toward
reefer sanity," calling for a more humane and rational approach to our
nation's drug problem. Although Parker dealt with marijuana, much of
her argument can logically be extended as well to other drugs of
abuse. As a physician working in the field of perinatal addiction for
over 35 years, I concur that our national "war on drugs" has not been
successful and in many ways should be considered a failure.

Parker stated that this "war" has been going on for 40 years, but in
reality the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act was signed into law by
President Wilson in December 1914. Our hard-line, zero-tolerance
approach was solidified in 1919 by the Supreme Court rulings U.S. v.
Doremus, which found that the Harrison Act was constitutional, and
Webb et al. v. U.S., which found that physicians could not prescribe
narcotics for addiction maintenance.

This 90-year-old policy certainly falls under the rubric that
"insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a
different result." It's time to rethink our societal approach to a
national problem which is widespread, expensive, debilitating and

Stephen R. Kandall, M.D.

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